Saturday, July 21, 2012

Jewish blood is cheap to the Olympic Committee

From Tablet, 17 July 2012, by Deborah Lipstadt:
For the past few months there has been a concerted effort to get the International Olympic Committee to set aside one minute of silence at the opening ceremony at this year’s games to commemorate the Israeli athletes who were murdered—not killed, murdered—at the Munich games in 1972.

Jacques Rogge president of the International Olympic Committee

The games, held this year in London, are 17 days long. That’s 24,480 minutes. Despite the fact that petitioners were asking for only one of those minutes, it is now fairly evident that their efforts have failed. Before speculating on why the IOC has been so steadfast in its refusal, it is worthwhile to reflect on what precisely happened in Munich 40 years ago.
When the Olympics returned to Germany in 1972, the German government was intent that nothing about them evoke the memory of the 1936 Berlin games, held under the heavy hand of Nazi militarism. The Germans wanted these to be “the Happy Games.” Security would not be in evidence: Athletes freely climbed over the chain link fence surrounding the Olympic Village when they forgot their identification badges. Everything had to be relaxed. Germany had a new face to show the world.
That all changed on the morning of Sept. 5, when Palestinian terrorists from Fatah’s Black September organization scaled the fence around the Olympic Village. Armed with machine guns and grenades, they immediately killed two Israeli athletes and took nine others hostage. They demanded that Israel release 234 Palestinian prisoners and Germany release the two founding members of the Baader-Meinhof Gang.
When the release did not materialize by the late afternoon, the terrorists demanded a plane to take them to Egypt. German officials agreed but planned an ambush at the airport. The ambush was completely botched: A team of German police assigned to entrap the terrorists walked off the job as the terrorists were on their way to the airport. There were more terrorists than German snipers—and the snipers could not communicate with each other or with the officials in charge. Armored cars, which were ordered for backup, got caught in an hour-long traffic jam around the airport.
A gun battle erupted between the German forces and the terrorists on the tarmac, and the athletes, whom the captors had bound one to another in the helicopters that had brought them to the airport, were caught in the middle. When the terrorists realized that they could not escape, they shot the hostages and then threw a grenade into the helicopters to ensure that they were dead.
Competition at the games had continued until mid-afternoon that Tuesday. Only after a barrage of criticism did IOC President Avery Brundage suspend activities. Brundage, who served as president of American Olympic Committee in the 1930s, had been a great admirer of Hitler and, as late as 1971, had insisted that the Berlin games were one of the best ever. In 1936, when some Americans tried to organize a boycott of the games, Brundage fought the effort vigorously until he decided to use it as a fundraising tool. He assumed that Jews who were embarrassed by the threat of a boycott would give to the AOC and help decrease anti-Semitism in the United States. Brundage’s plan apparently came to naught.
At the Munich memorial service, held on Wednesday, Sept. 6, the day after the massacre, Brundage defiantly declared: “The games must go on.” His cry was met with cheers by the crowd. (Red Smith of the New York Times described it as more pep rally than memorial.) The games did go on, but the Los Angeles Times reporter Jim Murray described it as “like having a dance at Dachau.”
In the years since, the families of the victims have repeatedly told the IOC that all they want is a chance to mark the murder of athletes who had traveled to the games to do precisely what athletes do: compete at their very best. These victims deserved to be remembered by the very organization that had brought them to Munich.
Why the IOC refusal? The Olympic Committee’s official explanation is that the games are apolitical. The families were repeatedly told by long-time IOC President Juan Samaranch that the Olympic movement avoided political issues. He seemed to have forgotten that at the 1996 opening ceremony he spoke about the Bosnian war. Politics were also present at the 2002 games, which opened with a minute of silence for the victims of 9/11.
The families have also been told that a commemoration of this sort was inappropriate at the opening of such a celebratory event. However, the IOC has memorialized other athletes who died “in the line of duty.” At the 2010 winter games, for example, there was a moment of silence to commemorate an athlete who died in a training accident.
The IOC’s explanation is nothing more than a pathetic excuse. The athletes who were murdered were from Israel and were Jews—that is why they aren’t being remembered. The only conclusion one can draw is that Jewish blood is cheap, too cheap to risk upsetting a bloc of Arab nations and other countries that oppose Israel and its policies.
I have long inveighed against the tendency of some Jews to see anti-Semitism behind every action that is critical of Israel or of Jews. In recent years some Jews have been inclined to hurl accusations of anti-Semitism even when they are entirely inappropriate. By repeatedly crying out, they risk making others stop listening—especially when the cry is true.
Here the charge is absolutely accurate. This was the greatest tragedy to ever occur during the Olympic Games. Yet the IOC has made it quite clear that these victims are not worth 60 seconds. Imagine for a moment that these athletes had been from the United States, Canada, Australia, or even Germany. No one would think twice about commemorating them. But these athletes came from a country and a people who somehow deserve to be victims. Their lost lives are apparently not worth a minute.

Olmert: Count Your Blessings and Retire Graciously

From Isi Leibler, July 16, 2012:
Following the verdict of the Jerusalem District Court, I was very relieved that Ehud Olmert will not be behind bars, unless the “Holyland” trial determines otherwise. It would have reflected adversely on the state of Israel for a former Prime Minister to be incarcerated in addition to our former president.
However, there is a surrealistic tone to Olmert’s triumphalist responses and the arrogant predictions of his acolytes that he is now on the road to regaining the premiership.
Olmert was fortunate that the judgment declared insufficient evidence to show conclusively that he was aware of what transpired and thus unable to determine whether the cash he received was directed towards political campaign funds or for personal benefit.
This in no way makes Olmert a martyr, or provides credence to the wild accusations that he was the object of conspiracies. Olmert himself called for investigations into "right-wing American Jews" who he alleges paid millions of dollars to bring about his downfall.
His supporters are also irresponsibly demanding the resignation of State Attorney Moshe Lador because the prosecution failed to convict him on all charges. His friend, the former editor of Maariv, Amnon Dankner even called on him to "commit suicide".
Olmert should come down to earth. Despite his denials, the judges were highly critical of the fact that he received huge bundles of cash and accumulated piles of money held in the safe of Uriel Messa, which were never reported. However, his personal assistant Shula Zaken was found guilty of criminal charges – fraud and breach of trust – despite the fact that Olmert was the sole beneficiary from her actions. After the trial, Zaken told the media that she had "taken one for the team and jumped on a grenade" in order to protect her former boss.
Olmert and much of the media also trivialized the court findings in which, for the first time, an Israeli Prime Minister was convicted of a breach of trust, a criminal offense. This is hardly inconsequential and may even deny him entry into the United States.
He is being encouraged by a number of disgruntled politicians led by the discredited Chaim Ramon to reenter the political arena. Some of his old cronies in Kadima would also welcome his return. Even some of Olmert’s former bitter political enemies from the far left enthusiastically supported him as displayed by Avram Burg who was seen embracing him in court immediately before the verdict.
Olmert himself proclaimed "I will seek the premiership and take Yair Lapid with me" - obliging Lapid to issue an immediate denial.
Most Israelis are not fools and opinion polls show that the majority reject him as they did well before the Talansky scandal. They have not forgotten that Olmert was the most disastrous Prime Minister to ever rule over Israel.
His record speaks for itself. Being a successful networker with an engaging personality, he was the consummate politician. After mending his fences with Menahem Begin for having initially opposed the peace treaty with Sadat, he built up support within Likud, was a successful Health Minister and was elected Mayor of Jerusalem. He subsequently found it expedient to move to the left and became one of Ariel Sharon’s strongest supporters in implementing the disastrous unilateral disengagement from Gaza. He became Prime Minister in 2006 following Sharon’s stroke.
His political zig-zagging was most evident when the former hawk made the notorious proclamation to the left-leaning US-based Israel Policy Forum in June 2005, that "we are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies".
The 2006 Lebanon War was his undoing. After announcing that “the responsibility for the results of the war is wholly mine”, his own handpicked Winograd commission, produced a scathing condemnation of the conduct of the war. The report stated that it was guilty of a "major and grave missed opportunity" to inflict a major defeat of Hezbollah and restore Israel's shattered deterrence. It referred repeatedly to “failures” and “flaws” in the "decision-making procedures" and "strategic thinking and planning" which prevailed throughout the entire 34 days of the war.
In any normal democratic country, such an adverse report by an independent commission on a Prime Minister’s performance during a time of war would have automatically led to a resignation. Olmert refused and, making a mockery of public accountability, even had the chutzpa to claim that the findings exonerated and "lifted the moral stigma" from him.
However, desperate to regain status, he offered the Palestinians a deal that they could not resist, warning Israelis that if he failed, "the state of Israel is finished".
At the Annapolis conference in October 2007, he groveled to the Palestinians, virtually adopting their narrative, even referring to "terrorism and incitement whether committed by Palestinians or Israelis", implying that both parties were equally culpable
Without Knesset or cabinet approval, he launched into closed-door negotiations with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and - ignoring the need for defensible borders and a security presence along the Jordan River - offered Palestinians 98.1% of the West Bank. Despite public undertakings that he would not negotiate over Jerusalem, he offered to cede sovereignty of the Old City including the Temple Mount to an international trusteeship. He also offered to allow a number of Arab refugees to settle in Israel with no reference to restitution for the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab countries expelled in 1948. Abbas rejected his offer, although it is most unlikely that Israelis would have endorsed these concessions.
Yet, since then the Palestinians insist that the benchmark for future negotiations with Israel be based on Olmert’s unauthorized offers.
When Olmert was indicted on charges of corruption, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni turned against him, and to the relief of most Israelis who had lost confidence in him even before these charges emerged, he was obliged to stand down.
Out of office, he launched into historical revisionism, claiming that had he remained Prime Minister, Israel would have consummated peace with the Palestinians and Syria! He globally campaigned against the government, holding it responsible for the breakdown in negotiations with the Palestinians, encouraging the Obama administration to intensify its pressure against Israel. Olmert aligned himself with far-leftists and even delivered the keynote annual address for J Street, considered an anathema by the majority of American Jews.
There is no precedent of any former Israeli Prime Minister behaving in such an unconscionable and irresponsible manner.
Presumably under legal advisement, after his initial triumphalist outbursts immediately following the court verdict, Olmert subsequently contradicted everything he had said, proclaiming that he had no intention of reentering politics. However, in light of his consistent record of breaching undertakings, little credence should be given to such remarks.
If Olmert had any sense he should thank his lucky stars that he is not going to jail, pray that he overcomes the “Holyland” trial, adhere to his undertaking to keep out of politics and graciously retire.

West-Bank-istan on top of Gaza-stan?

From JPost, 20 July 2012, by Martin Sherman:

"The major issue is not [attaining] an agreement, but ensuring its actual implementation in practice. The number of agreements the Arabs have violated is no less than number which they have kept." – Shimon Peres, Tomorrow is Now (1978)
... in redoubling their efforts to reach their preferred mode of resolution of the Palestinian issue, [two-state advocates] seem to have forgotten that the real aim is not an agreement on the establishment of a Palestinian state, but long-term stability and security for Israel.
...[The] continued pursuit [of a two-state solution] will almost inevitably bring about a situation that directly negate the values invoked for its adoption, and precipitate consequences which are the antitheses of those its advocates intended.
The insistence ...regarding the desirability and feasibility of the two-state paradigm has arguably done more than anything else to nourish the ongoing delegitimzation of the Jewish state and the Zionist enterprise.
....Dershowitz suggested that the West Bank can be realistically divided into three effective areas:
• Those that are relatively certain to remain part of Israel.
• Those that are relatively certain to become part of a Palestinian state.
• Those reasonably in dispute (which may well remain part of Israel, but subject to negotiated land swaps).
He proposes that “there would be no Israeli building in those areas likely to become part of a Palestinian state” and “no limit on Israeli building within areas likely to remain part of Israel,” but says nothing about constraining Arab building in these areas – assuming of course any relevant Palestinian negotiator would agree a priori that there are any such areas – itself a giant leap of optimistic faith.
His attitude to the “disputed” areas is especially revealing. He states the “freeze [on Israeli construction] would continue in disputed areas until it was decided which will remain part of Israel and which part of the new Palestinian state.”
Yet he seems to prejudge the outcome of the “dispute,” by refraining from placing a similar freeze on the Palestinians.
And to eliminate any lingering doubt about how Dershowitz really intends the fate of the these “disputed” areas – in which he includes “some of the large settlement blocs such as Ariel” – to be determined, he declares: “An absolute building freeze would be a painful but necessary compromise. It might also encourage residents of the West Bank to move to areas that will remain part of Israel, especially if the freeze were accompanied by financial inducements to relocate.”
Clearly, if the Palestinians are permitted to build in these areas where Jews are not only barred from doing so, but “induced” to evacuate, deeming them “disputed” is little more than a ruse.
For if Palestinian development is allowed, while Jewish development is stifled, the obvious intention is for the area to eventually be transferred to the Palestinians.

The issue of financial inducements for residents of Judea and Samaria to relocate is of particular importance, for it is a proposal that has been raised with increasing frequency by a number of prominent twostaters, both Israeli and non-Israeli.
Apart from Dershowitz, it has been suggested by former president of the Union for Reform Judaism Eric Yoffie, United Jewish Israel Appeal head Mick Davis, former US diplomat Dennis Ross, US pundit Peter Beinart, former adviser to Ehud Barak Gilead Sher and former Shin Bet head and Labor politician Ami Ayalon, to name a few.
Yet although two-staters appear to have no ethical inhibitions regarding the principle of providing economic incentives to induce people to move, when it comes to its practical application, their preferences seem wildly prejudicial....
While they see nothing wrong with funding relocation of Jews to facilitate the establishment of what in all probability will be a failed micro-mini-state providing a haven for radical Islamist terror groups, they recoil in horror at the idea of funding relocation of Palestinians to prevent its establishment....
After all, the only way the putative Palestinian state will not become a haven for Arab terror organizations is for the Palestinians to behave in a manner diametrically opposed to the manner in which they have behaved for seven decades – arguably even longer.
...unless we are prepared to embrace the bizarre formula, recently proposed by Shimon Peres, that peace should be pursued with “our eyes closed,” deleting any record of the past from our memories; unless we are prepared to totally dismiss the lessons of experience, clearly continued support for two-statism is fraught with risk and bereft of rationality.
...Two-statism is fatally flawed in its morality because its proponents insist on the implementation of measures that will expose millions of Israelis (and eventually Palestinians) to dire dangers that have regularly resulted from previous attempts to implement similar measures. The only formula they furnish for contending with these dangers is to hope they won’t occur, without providing any compelling explanation for that.

...And Plan B is?
... over the past two decades, during which the goal of two-states has been vigorously pursued, with huge international endorsement and massive financial backing, all the warnings of the dangers by its opponents have proved true...
...what if – as in the past – any territory ceded to [the Arabs] is used to mount attacks on Israel? What is the two-staters’ Plan B?
These issues are becoming ever-more pressing and pertinent, especially since all the post-Arab Spring developments across the region make the prospects for two-stater success even more remote, and failure more perilous than ever.

A mega Cast Lead?
But even if we suppose, despite the odds and the evidence, that two-staters are right, and it is possible to locate some mythical moderate Palestinian who is prepared to sign an agreement with Israel in good faith and who genuinely intends to honor it, how is implementation to be ensured? After all as Peres, in a more lucid era, pointed out: “The major issue is not [attaining] an agreement, but ensuring its actual implementation in practice.”
What if for reasons of political – or physical – survival, that moderate Palestinian was forced to renege on the agreement? What if he was unable/unwilling to rein in renegade radicals backed by rejectionist regimes or organizations? What if he was removed from power – either by the ballot or the bullet – and replaced by successors whose raison d’etre was repudiation of the recognition of Israel? After all, as Peres once observed: “The number of agreements the Arabs have violated is no less than the number which they have kept.”
What if, after it is established, it turns out that the Palestinians really meant what they said – that the founding of a Palestinian state is (merely) a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel? What if they really believe their National Charter, that “the partition of Palestine in 1947, and the establishment of the state of Israel, are entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time?” What if they act to promote this belief? What if the residents of the Coastal Plain are subjected to anything even remotely approaching what the residents of Sderot have been subjected to for years? This is not an implausible prospect and twostaters have moral duty to provide a plausible contingency plan to respond to it.
Would they demand that Palestinian sovereignty be revoked and the Palestinian state be annulled, because it was established under false pretenses? Would they endorse a massive military campaign in the “West Bank” to quell the violence that made the maintenance of socioeconomic routine in the Tel Aviv area impossible? On a scale and intensity far greater than the IDF’s 2008/9 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza? Along a front much longer (about 400-km. long as opposed to 50 km.)? In topographical terrain far more disadvantageous? ...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Israeli Tourist bus bombed in Bulgaria

From JPost, 19 July 2012, by HERB KEINON, YAAKOV KATZ:

Netanyahu blames Iran for bombing near Burgas airport, vows to act "forcefully" against Tehran-backed terror on targets abroad.

Photo: Zaka

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu blamed Iran on Wednesday for the bomb attack that killed at least seven people and wounded dozens more on a bus carrying Israelis just outside the airport in Burgas on the Black Sea coast.
Netanyahu, who said “all signs lead to Iran,” warned that Israel would respond forcefully against Iranian terrorism.
The blast on the bus occurred soon after a charter plane, Air Bulgaria flight 392 from Ben-Gurion Airport, landed at 4:45 p.m. The bus was the second of four carrying Israeli tourists from the airport to hotels in the city.
The explosion also damaged two of the other buses.
The explosion is believed to have been caused by a bomb placed either underneath the bus or in its luggage compartment.
Eyewitnesses said people jumped out of the windows to extricate themselves from the carnage.
One eyewitness, Shoshi Ayaler, told Channel 2 that the Israelis had just gone through passport control and were directed to the buses.
“We placed our bags in the luggage compartment and after a couple of minutes the bus burst into flames,” she said.
Her son Guy said that “people who survived the blast escaped through the windows so as not to walk over corpses.” He said the injured were evacuated to the hospital and the rest were returned to the terminal.
“Over the last few months alone we have seen Iranian attempts to attack Israelis in Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya, Cyprus and other places,” the prime minister said in a statement.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu raised the threat of Iranianbacked terrorist attacks on Israeli targets, during a meeting with Hungarian President Janos Ader. He also mentioned this threat at Sunday’s cabinet meeting, when he pointed a finger at Iran for trying to carry out a thwarted attack in Cyprus earlier this month.
Security officials said a similar plot – the bombing of an Israeli tourist bus in Bulgaria – was foiled earlier this year.
Wednesday’s attack came on the 18th anniversary of the bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and wounded more than 300.
Referring to that attack, which an Argentinean court blamed squarely on Iran, Netanyahu said that nearly two decades later, “deadly Iranian terrorism continues to strike at innocent people.
This is a global Iranian terror onslaught and Israel will react forcefully to it.”
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the attack was part of a “long battle” that Israel was waging against attempts by Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas to attack Israeli targets overseas. He urged Israelis to continue traveling abroad and vowed that the defense establishment would use all its force to “get its hands on the perpetrators and the plotters.”
Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov and the country’s interior minister all rushed to the scene of the bombing. Israel and Bulgaria have close ties and the Bulgarian resorts on the Black Sea coast are popular vacation destinations for Israelis, especially for youth.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was in contact with Mladenov, who said that six people were killed at the scene, and a seventh died in the hospital.
Thirty other people were wounded, including two in critical condition.
The Foreign Ministry’s situation room immediately went into operation after the blast, and received scores of calls from worried relatives. Deputy director- general Gideon Meir said the ministry efforts were focused on three areas: providing help to the injured, providing logistical assistance for other Israeli tourists in the area and identifying the bodies.
Meir said that two Israeli planes were expected to land in Burgas after midnight with two Israeli doctors, seven paramedics, a psychologist and three Foreign Ministry workers to supplement the staff from the embassy in Sofia who went to Burgas.
Liberman, in a conversation with Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, said that in addition to dealing with the dead and wounded, Israel would work on all levels to ensure directly or indirectly that all those involved in the attack “pay the price.”
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Nitzan Nuriel, the former head of the Counterterrorism Bureau, said Hezbollah and Iran could have recruited operatives.
“Hezbollah has a presence in Bulgaria and there have been attempts that were thwarted there before,” said Nuriel, who stepped down from his post earlier this year. “They could have relied on the local Muslim community or [their terrorists could have] crossed into Bulgaria from Turkey. It is quite easy.”
...Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon called for European countries to include Hezbollah in their list of terrorist organizations.
Israel had asked Bulgaria to increase its security over Israeli tour groups in the capital city of Sofia. According to Sofia News Agency, a Hezbollah plot was earlier uncovered by local security agencies, which warned Israel. There was no travel advisory in effect for Bulgaria on Wednesday.
Just a few hours before the attack, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement marking 18 years since the Buenos Aires bombing.
“The pain and sorrow we feel is added to the difficult feeling we have that those responsible for this attack were not yet brought to justice,” the statement said.
“Israel condemns Iran for standing behind terror attacks around the world by funding training and arming terrorist organizations.”